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I posted the article because I felt a good discussion about it was called for. As you will note at the intro, I cut out several paragraphs that I felt were over the top and not substantiated, and some images that were not originals and could not be sourced.

Just Jo

I do that everyday for my company..if they ever knew I'm sure I'd be fired for STEALING..outstanding post..so many up in the office never know what we do at ground level to push thier business..with incredible success.Thank you for your post!!!


Bet this made your day! I'd love to see more of this attitude and company's putting a little more faith in their employees. And although I understand to some degree that this is harder for large corporations to implement as they require tighter stock control and more "spelled-out" staff guidelines, it would so be worth it for them to just LET GO. Just a little. If trusting staff to use their own initiative is outside of their comfort zone, I'm sure someone in accounts could devise a spreadhseet to keep track of all the 50 cents that were getting giving away.

By the way, did you consider that maybe it wasn't coming out of the company's profits? Maybe the lovely girl put the dollar in the till for you out of her own pocket?!

JC Duarte

Great post Simon.. I experienced a reverse situation yesterday, but that the employee made-up for it in spirit. My wife bought an iPhone over the weekend and when we noticed it had been refurbished she went back on Monday to get it replaced. Spain being Spain.. and Customer Service being from Mars here, the employee called her boss who immediately refused to swap the phone. My wife's Spanish is weak so she gave the employee my details to call & try & get the situation resolved.

48h later to my surprise the employee actually did call.. apologized for her bosses stubborn nature & said that she was sorry she couldn't do anything more. As she reflected on Maria's (my wife) positive energy during the entire affair, it made her feel so bad that she told me to come up to the shop, file a formal complaint in their complaints registry (it's an official legal process) and she advised where the consumer protection agency was.

This sales clerk wasn't as empowered as yours, but she gave it her best shot anyway & at least we highly appreciate the effort in a country where "customer service" obviously isn't in their dictionary! :-)


Cool post.

At one of my very first jobs I was a host or door guy at a restaurant.

Directly in front of the door was a payphone. I used to keep a few bucks in quarters in my pocket during every shift - If a customer would get to the phone and realize he/she didn't have a quarter then I'd toss one in.

It only costs me a couple of bucks over the years to make a small, but lasting impact on a few customers.

I was just the door guy. I didn't go home with a wallet full of tips at the end of the night.

Zappos is doing things brilliantly by empowering employees.

On the other side, Tim Ferriss talks about it in the 4-hour work week. If a decision could be made without bothering him for less than X amount of dollars - they had full authority to make the decision.


Excellent post that mirrors my own thoughts on the subject.

I'll be certain to patronize 3Cups when next in Chapel Hill.

Juan Iraola

Fully agree with you, moreover I would add "THE POWER OF THE EMPOWERED EMPLOYEE"

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Your post covers the topic of employee empowerment brilliantly! An empowered employee is an asset to the organization. How does a company create empowered employees? As mentioned, it depends on how a company is run. But how is such a culture created? As discussed in Vineet Nayar’s book ‘Employees first, customers second’, certain unconventional management ideas will have to be put into practice. By inverting the organizational hierarchy, employees should be put in the value zone. Decisions should be decentralized and an entrepreneurial mindset should be encouraged.


Hmmm. Nice. Mostly experienced shop keepers do this. A $1 doesn't make a fortune for them. But I'd you like the product, they can make money out of it. It's adapted from Indian fishing method, where fishermen place a pry on his net to attract fishes.

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